The ECI Telecom (Nasdaq:ECIL) labor union today petitioned Tel Aviv Labor Court to issue an injunction preventing ECI's management from firing 20 unionized employes. In addition, the union announced a collective dispute.

The union claims management did not adhere to the agreed-upon dismissal procedure when it fired 20 workers, issuing notices one month in advance. The union said that according to the most contracts, the company has to give two-month dismissal notice.

The union said that the procedure violates agreements signed in October 2001 between the union and management. The agreements were signed after management dismissed 164 union workers of a total 560 at the beginning of 2001.

The union alleges that under the agreements, the remaining workers agreed to wage cuts in order to stay with the company. The union said that in return management promised not to lay off additional workers. The current lay-offs show that management deceived the labor union, and after receiving agreements on wage cuts, it also cut positions.

The union said that there work volume has not dropped, and that workers have been working overtime for many months. The union claims management is laying off veteran employees in order to hire cheaper labor.

The union alleges that management hopes to destroy the union, and completely ignores the ruling that it must maintain the ratio between layoffs of union workers and non-union workers.

The union said it has no precise data on how many workers under individual contract were laid off, but it has learned that management mispresented this data. The union claims that management said that in 2001 it dismissed some 1,400 workers who had individual contracts, while in fact it laid off just 800.

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